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The Wines of South Africa

The Wines of South Africa

Title: Madeira: The Wines of South Africa
Author: Jim Clarke
Publisher: Infinite Ideas
For many wine regions, the first wine harvest is lost in the mists of time, but South Africa knows its birthday. Jan van Riebeeck recorded the event in his journal on February 2, 1659. He had a particular interest in the success of the wine, since planting vines seems to have been his idea in the first place. Van Riebeeck had arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on April 6, 1652 on the Dromedaris, one of three ships. The journey had taken four months and had not been easy; the two other ships in the convoy, the Walvisch and the Oliphant, arrived the following day, after illness on board delayed them and cost a number of lives. The settlers in their entirety amounted to 90 people. As the commander of the new Colony, Van Riebeeck's task was to establish a refreshment station that would assist the ships of the Dutch East India Company (the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC) on their journeys back and forth from Holland to Batavia, in what is now Indonesia.

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